images/Carlos_Ribeiro_and_Giovanni_Vienna/Carlos_Ribeiro_Giovanni_Vianna_OpeningImage_Landi_DSC3881-Edit.jpg

Carlos Ribeiro and Giovanni Vianna

Carlos Ribeiro and Giovanni Vianna both had incredible years in 2019. Each filming video parts and finishing the first qualification season in the top 20, well on their way to a spot at the Olympics. Things were looking great rolling into 2020, before everything came to a screeching halt. While each has travelled their own unique road and are at different stages of their careers, they share a lot in common when it comes to skateboarding, their approach to their careers and where they come from. Each has a unique and refreshing approach to life and skateboarding. We recently sat down together and had them interview each other about where they’re at, where they've been and where they’re going. 2020 has been a wild one, but the future for these two is looking good.

 DSC3927 Edit copy

Carlos:

Okay. I’ll ask a question. You can answer it in Portuguese if you want. How do you feel about having to film and skate contests at the same time? How does that work for you? Is it chill? Is it hard?

Gio:

It's pretty normal. It's chilling. The life is skateboarding. Skateboarding is life.

Carlos:

That's the answer.

Jeff:

That's not normal skateboarder life, though. Last year is the year that you qualified for the Olympics, right?

Gio:

Yeah.

Jeff:

That was your first set of contests at that level. Then you also filmed a part for the Primitive video. To qualify out of no where, get on Primitive and film that level of street part, in that short of time, that's not normal skate life. Super impressive year.

Carlos:

How do you do it, if there's a contest the next weekend and you're out skating, do you think about not trying to skate the spot so you don't get hurt to skate the contest? Or do you just focus more on street skating and not think about the contest at all?

Gio:

No. I don't think about the contest or anything. Just skate. It works every time.

 DSC2217 2

Jeff:

How long have you been skating contests?

Gio:

Damn, bro.

Carlos:

Long time.

Gio:

Yeah. Long time. Like 16 years.

Carlos:

Four years old for his first contest.

Gio:

My first one.

Jeff:

Four year old for your first contest?

Gio:

Yeah.

Jeff:

Skateboard contest?

Gio:

Yeah.

Jeff:

You've been skating since you were four years old?

Gio:

I start skating at two.

Jeff:

Shut the fuck up. Really?

Gio:

Yeah.

Jeff:

Whoa. No wonder.

Carlos:

Homie is 19, he skates for 17 years.

Gio:

17 years skating.

Carlos:

His dad put YouTube videos on, videos on YouTube every year since he was six years old.

Gio:

It's crazy, huh?

Jeff:

Wait, you were watching YouTube videos in your crib as a baby?

Gio:

Yeah. My father showed me. I remember my first video is Almost, Round Three. But he showed me a bunch about Cab, Caballero. A bunch of board slides, something like that, to learn. I remember that.

Jeff:

Your dad skates?

Gio:

He skated in the 60s.

Carlos:

It should be 80s, no?

Gio:

Ah, 80s. Yeah. Sorry, dog. 80s. Think like 80 to 86 and he quit.

Jeff:

I’m still tripping that you were four years old in the first contest you skated.

Gio:

Yeah. My first contest four years old. That's what my father say. I think it's true.

Jeff:

So you've been street skating for how long?

Gio:

I started I think 12, 11.

Carlos:

Street skating with a helmet on.

Gio:

No. No. No. No. With no helmet on.

Carlos:

With a helmet on, pushing mongo.

Gio:

That is street skating, dog, but not with helmet and not pushing mongo.

Carlos:

So you changed your style.

Gio:

I changed everything.

Carlos:

He used to push Mongo and wear a helmet.

Gio:

Then I remember at the contest, the judge say for me if I push mongo in the contest, the scores go down. So I have to learn how to push, like normal push.

Jeff:

Crazy. They're going to switch that for the Olympics. You've got to push mongo and wear a helmet.

Carlos:

We're going to have time to take a look at some Giovanni videos on YouTube. Giovanni Galera.

Carlos:

Skinny jeans, long hair, glasses.

Jeff:

I forgot you had long hair. I remember in Sal Paulo, you were lined up. I was like, "Geo's looking fresh now. All sharp."

Gio:

Yeah. I remember too. You know why I change it, actually, my name to Giovanni Vianna? My name is Giovanni Vianna Galera. So it's supposed to be Giovanni Galera. I changed it, because their’s a professional skateboarder in Brazil, his nickname is Galera. The guy's name is Paulo Galera.

Carlos Ribeiro Sacramento 2020 Landi web DSC3839

Jeff:

So Carlos, you kind of come from an older generation than Gio. You came into skateboarding based on filming parts and shooting photos. You're applying that mentality to skateboard contests now... your approach is different than a lot of people that are skating in the contests.

Carlos:

Yeah. Straight up. Like I say the other one, I don't want this to sound bad or anything, because it isn't. It's no disrespect to anybody or anything. I think the contest is great. I think Olympics is going to be good. I'm actually hyped, I'm glad. If I make it to the Olympics, I would be stoked to skate it. But what I'm saying is we came up in skateboarding by filming video parts, skating the streets. This core side of skateboarding. We get the opportunity to do these contests and we go for sure, but our approach and our mindset is we're going to do what we feel like and what we think is cool. We're not going to do it to beat other people. I feel like that goes away from what the skateboarding culture is.

I feel like Gio's the same too. I know him. We're just loyal to this culture. Then of course, we're not going to just avoid going to Olympics and all that, because we both know that's a great opportunity. Plus me personally, again no disrespect, I would love to see people in Olympics that are showing the real skateboarding there, besides going to kill competitors.

The Olympics are going to expose skateboarding to a bunch of people that don't know about skating, but they probably will like it. I wish and I hope that the people that are there are real skaters that are on this side of the skateboarding, so that people that don't know about skateboarding will see from them. You understand what I'm saying?

There's no right and wrong. There's people that build their careers in contests. I'm okay with that. That's cool. But at least for me and I believe for Gio too, it's like I came up on this side. That's what I like, that's my priority. But I'm going to go to the contest, because I like contests too. I feel like it helps with my street skating too. There's a great opportunity, and I see that and I go for that. But I don't strategically try to win against other skaters. I just want to do what I feel like is cool. If I make it, I'll be hyped. If I don't, it's all good.

Jeff:

I absolutely understand what you're saying. I'll say for me too, there are a couple people that I think do have that killer thing. But they also push themselves really hard. While I know they want to win, they're also hyper competitive with themselves. There's an aspect of that that I like. I know that that's not totally true to what we're talking about culture-wise with skateboarding, but I think so much of skateboarding is self-competitive. I do like that they go for it. They're not just doing tricks for safety points. They're trying to win.

Carlos:

Straight up. It's okay. It's no problem with that too. It's just like I'm not that. 

CarlosRibiero.SwitchFsHurrican.Fisheye.Davis.Landi DSC2209

Jeff:

I mean I think that's a piece of skateboarding. That there's room for ... I think even saying you want the Olympics to really show the real culture of skateboarding, all of that is a piece of what skateboarding is. I know what you're talking about though.

Carlos:

Even that, it motivates me too to try hard. I don't mean that I want to go for a kill, but I'm really going to try to land my tricks and be there, because I feel like it's a great opportunity. Of course I'm going to root for my friends that are on this side of skateboarding to be there too.

Jeff:

Can you talk about that a little bit too, Gio? Can you talk again about your approach to contests? 

Gio:

Yeah. I go to contests and do the tricks that I'm comfortable, you know? The contest helps us street skating too, because you have to land a trick first try on the big rail. You can do that on the streets sometimes. You can think about the contest and go for it on the streets. The contests help on the streets in a way.

Jeff:

The consistency, because what you're saying is you have to be on point for that one try in a contest. The consistency level it takes helps your confidence when you're street skating and filming video parts and shooting photos and whatever.

Gio:

It's like, because you're in the contest, if you want to land the trick and do a good score, you have to go for it. You go for the land no matter what. If you go out to the street and try the same trick you did on the contest, you remember what you did it. Remember how was the trick. You're just thinking go for it, too. Things like that help. You have to see everything help, pushing. Like street skating can push you on the contest, because the big stuff. The trick you landed on the skate park, on the contest, you can help you to do on the street too. It helps both ways.

Jeff:

Can you talk about that a little bit too, Carlos? Just the consistency.

Carlos:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Because with go to those contests, you practice tricks that you don't do on the average day. Just by doing that, you're actually pushing yourself a little bit and not staying in a comfort zone. Then when you skate in the contest, sometimes you get caught in this position where you know your tricks that you're comfortable with, then there's a few tricks that you're scared, but you know you can do it. Then at one point in the contest, you're like, "Okay, I have to do one of those tricks that I'm scared." So you commit 100%. Most of the times, it happened to me, most of the times you land it first try. Right there, the commitment and the position where you're at, you have to. So that makes you land it. Then when you go to the skate streets, let's say you try the same trick in the street. You remember the contest when you actually tried for real, you landed it. So you're like, "You know what? I'm going to fully commit on this one right here." Then it becomes not easier, but it works better.

 DSC6732

Gio:

Like motivation.

Carlos:

It works better in the streets, because you're doing these tricks over and over, practicing for the contest. Do it at the contest in one try. Now you're in the streets, you can try 100 times. But then you remember that one commitment that you had, and it helps. You can apply that in the streets.

Jeff:

Do either of you do anything to get ready for contests? Do you go skate the park a bunch before you go to a contest? You know what I mean? Or is it just street skating, then go to contest, street skate and go to contest?

Carlos:

I think Gio street skates a lot and then just goes to contests, right?

Gio:

Yeah.

Carlos:

You barely skate the skate park, right?

Gio:

Yeah, barely skate on skate park. Right now, I don't have car. I go when somebody goes.

Carlos:

Gio is just street skating, but I'm skating skate parks. I've always been skating skate parks. I love it. I do that to help me on the streets too, because I need to. I want to feel my board. Sometimes I go practice a trick that I want to do in the streets, I practice at the skate park first. Now that we have the Nike skate park right here, I've been going there a bunch.

Jeff:

The park's fun.

Carlos:

Yeah, I go often, even when there's no contest. Right now, I've been skating the skate park a lot. I use that for the street skating too.

Jeff:

Can we talk a little bit about your paths to the Olympics? How did you make your way onto the Brazilian team, and how did you find yourself ranked in the top 20 to go to the Olympics?

Gio:

For the Brazilian team, I skated in the Global Open in LA. I made it to the finals and I got fourth place.

Jeff:

This was in June or July of 2019?

Gio:

Yeah. 2019. Because of that, I made it to I think top 11 in rank, something like that. I just skated once, and that put me in the top 20. After that, I've been to China to the contest and make 19th place or something like that. That's why I'm on the team right now, because I'm in the top 20 something. 

Jeff:

You know, what's cool about that is that's kind of...I know that it's part of the contentious part about how the Olympics are set up for some people, because it goes away from the old system of how skateboard contests were ran. You came as an unranked skater, skated in an open and got ranked. Your story is one of the reasons it's pretty rad. It's amazing. You’re an example of how open an environement it is. I know that you've been skateboarding forever, but for me, I just found out about you and all of a sudden…boom, you’re on the path to Tokyo.

 DSC6930

Gio:

The contest helps for some people. For me, it helped people see how I skate or something. That was good for me. It's pretty rad.

Jeff:

When did you start getting boards from Primitive?

Gio:

Three years, I would think.

Jeff:

That's pretty good. You've been getting boards for a while.

Gio:

Yeah. But just for international.

Carlos:

2018. Yeah. It was after Tampa Pro, so I think it was March 2018.

Gio:

Yeah. I started getting boards. A skate shop brand in Brazil, It's called Maize. He came to the US, talk to Primitive guys to get some boards to sell in Brazil. He talked about me to the guys, the guys like me and start to give me boards. That's where it started. It started slower and Carlos talked to my friend, the vendor in Brazil. He said, "Yo, say for Gio, come to us and stay here. Skate with us, I don't know, and try to do what you want."

Carlos:

I knew Gio, I knew Gio back then. We met at the skate camp. He was a little kid, probably 15 maybe. You were something like that.

Gio:

12.

Carlos:

12? Oh my god.

Gio:

12 or 13.

 DSC3632 2

Carlos:

I knew how he skated and how his approach was. He was skating big in Brazil already. In Brazil, the spots are rough. A big rail in Brazil, it's not like a big rail over here. It's pretty bad. The ground is bad. Everything is bad. The rail sometimes is broken and all that. So I knew he was going to kill it out here. But it's not like it was serious. I just told him, "Dude, tell Gio to come to America. Tell Gio to come to America and stay here. Skate with us." Then Gio came and he was texting me very often. Let's go skate, let's go skate, what about now? I liked that approach and the way he really wanted to skate. I remember picking him up, taking him to the sessions and he was just skating. You can tell when people are trying to show off or when people are really just skating because they really love skating. He would try to skate everything. That's how it came about, the Primitive thing.

Jeff:

When was that? Was that in 2019 or 2018?

Gio:

I start in '19 when I came in March.

Jeff:

And started skating, hanging out in LA area, skating with everybody.

Carlos:

Yeah. He came. Then we skated two or three times, then I had a trip. I was going on a trip for two or three weeks, I think. I have a friend, Bryce. He films. He filmed a bunch of my stuff too. He's super cool. I told Bryce, "Yo, this kid is here. Take him to skate. He's going to kill it." Bryce was like, "Okay." They met, would pick him up. When I came back from the trip, there was five minutes of him shooting. 

Carlos:

How did you get on that Global Open contest?

Gio:

I get in because some ticket, not ticket, but…

Jeff:

Wildcard.

Carlos:

That's what it is.

Gio:

Yeah. Wildcard. When the guys give you some wildcard to go. It's kind of crazy. The Brazilian guys put four guys and didn't tell me. He gave me the wildcard. Like what?

Jeff:

They didn't tell you. It's just like here.

Gio:

Yeah.

Jeff:

This guy's got the golden ticket in life, Carlos.

Carlos:

He does.

Jeff:

Wow. Whatever…you went from getting flowed boards to someone saying, "Hey, go skate in this contest." Getting on Primitive for real. Qualifying, finishing high in the rankings in top 20 in the rankings in the first year, and filming a video part in one of the best videos of the year. That's a pretty big year.

Gio:

Yeah, dog. Last year, for me it's my favorite year right now. Crazy one. Everything changed for me. Just for skating, I want to skate, travel all the world. Skate. Yeah, just everything changed. It's kind of crazy for me. I don't know how to say too much.

Jeff:

Everything changed. It's fun to watch, from afar.

Gio:

Carlos had a good year to. How was your last year too? About three parts, four parts, something like that?

Carlos:

Yeah. It was a great year for me. Three video parts. Tampa Pro…I can't believe it too, It sounds so weird, but winning Tampa Pro, I wasn't expecting that ever, actually.

Jeff:

That's major ... winning Tampa Pro is a major career achievement.

Carlos:

Yeah. I wasn't expecting to. So I had some footage already, but I knew I was working on that, doing that part, that part for my dad, who passed away in 2018. That was very special for me. I already had some footage, and I already had things in mind that I wanted to film for that part. I was super... I was very motivated, thinking about okay, this is for you dad. That helped me a lot to commit on stuff that I was scared of to skate.

Plus Tampa Pro happened. That was another one that I had that mentality, thinking about my dad and all that. I happened to win, not that I was trying to win. It’s weird, I feel weird when I say that, but I'm being honest…for real. I don't go to the contest with the mentality to win. I just wanted to land my tricks and be happy with what I do.

Even Tampa Pro, I landed my run, I had five seconds left, and I just pick up my board, okay, that's it. The judges gave me the points to win. I was super stoked, of course. Then I had that, and I had an interview with Thrasher, too. That was already in the works. Tampa Pro happened and I knew I had the interview pretty ready to go and I had that part that was about to be done too. Finishing that part was super special for me. Alan Hannon edited it. That piece was very special. It's going to be there forever. I'm always going to remember that part. That part has a big spot in my heart forever. So just that part in general for me was already super special, I was really hyped to have done that for my dad. 

Then I had some footage, some VX footage with my friend Eric, who now is a Primitive filmer. We were like, "Dude, let's just film a part. Let's just film a VX part. Your part is done, you have nothing to work on right now with. Let's do it." So I start filming the VX part more on like fun, street skating, not really like I'm going to do this here, do this there. I was just going out with Eric to have some fun. Let's do whatever. Then we got a lot of footage with that mentality. That was great.

In the middle of that part, we did the trip to China with Primitive for “Encore”. So then I start focusing on “Encore”. I had a few more thing to do with the VX, but that China trip was great. Everybody got a lot of footage. We went to the city, Changdu. It's crazy, dude, so many spots.

I ended up getting a lot of footage there. That helped to build a part around that. I got back to LA, filming with Eric. We finished the VX part. Then the “Encore” video came out. It was crazy. It was a busy year, but it was all so much fun, traveling, doing all that, skating the contest. It was crazy to think about. It went too quick.

Jeff:

That's a lot of skateboarding.

Carlos:

A lot of skateboarding, which is great.

Jeff:

I think it's really cool how all the different aspects feed off each other, how it's not just the one thing. All the different parts of skateboarding coming together. Not just contests, not just video parts. It all just feeds into each other. It sounds like your motivation is really these last couple years has been your family. Between your father and your daughter.

Carlos:

Yeah. It's always been like that. It's always been my family, actually. My dad always supported me so much. My mom also. They started loving skateboarding too and I know they want the best for me. So I'm going to try my best. So that's a big motivation. Along with my daughter being born, a few months after my dad passed away, my wife noticed that she was pregnant. That was another big motivation. Of course my dad passing, when something like that happens in your life and it's going to happen to everybody unfortunately, it's so hard. 

It was the hardest time of my life. For me there was two or three months that I didn't know what to do. I really thought about  going to get a car and going to disappear. I'm like, I don't want to deal with nothing. It's hard to bring yourself together and actually ... When something like that happens, you're just like skateboarding, my career, whatever. That doesn't matter. That's what you think.

It was hard for me to get back. So then when my daughter was born, I was like, okay, I have to provide for my family. You know how it is. Once you have your first son or your first kid…you see them come into the world, I would do whatever for her. So I needed to get back to skateboarding, get myself together. I noticed in my head, with a little help of therapy of course, that I just hadn’t been myself.

I know that I have to do my best skateboarding just, because I know my dad wants the best for me and also, because I wanted to provide for my family. That's definitely the biggest motivation for me. It will always be my family, but with all the circumstances that happened in my life. It's even more now.

Jeff:

What’s next.  We’re supposed to be on our way to the Olympics right now. How have things changed? What's the future look like now that we're in quarantine and the future is uncertain?

Carlos:

I like it, in a way, because we were supposed to have such a busy year this year. Contests back to back to back to back. There was basically no room for street skating. I was a little bummed about it. Even Gio. We were talking to each other, "How are you going to do it this year? Are you going to skip some contests to be able to street skate? Are you going to attend trips to film and stuff?"

We were talking about it already, in the beginning of the year. It was hard to schedule contests and street skating and all that. Then out of nowhere, this pandemic started. It became an open year to street skate. Of course the beginning, I was very scared. I had my mom in town too. I wasn't even leaving the house. For three weeks I really quarantined inside of the house. Then my mom flew back to Brazil.

I started going out skating and felt more comfortable now. Now we're all street skating and stuff, definitely being conscious about it. We have a free year to skate. Personally, I haven't been in the same spot, in the same city for this long since I'm 16 years old. I'm definitely enjoying this time in my house and skating California. Being around my family more. I have no complaints. I'm really liking it. I think it's going to help for the next year for the contest season, Olympics and all that, because we pretty much have a one year break. We kept street skating, but that one year break from constant traveling and being in an airport, because it's a mission. It's a blast of course, but it's a mission. All the time internationally traveling, it gets tiring. Then we have this one year break. Definitely the beginning, with quarantine, it's helping with people understanding themselves and all that. I feel like for that, it's going to be good.

Jeff:

How about you Gio? You were speeding up, then ...

Gio:

Yeah. I'm come here to do that, going to stay here, film street skating and go to the contests. But everything that happened, I just stay here and film in LA. It's good, because I never film too much in LA. To figure it out all these spots you can see. The OG spots, all the history is in LA too. Everything over there. That's good to see. You have to push yourself too, because it's almost like all these spots are like crazy, crazy tricks. It's already been done. So you have to push yourself and stuff like that. It's good. I like it, actually. Because I'm staying just in LA and chill just skating.

 DSC1523

Jeff:

Are you guys looking forward to the possibility of being in Tokyo? That's going to be ... Have you guys thought about it at all? The opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Carlos:

I've thought about it.

Jeff:

The village and all of that stuff.

Carlos:

It's crazy. Definitely if I make it, it will be a highlight in my life for sure. I'll never forget. I think it's definitely going to be crazy and it's going to be really good for skating too. I feel like I already can see parks being built, even in Brazil too, you know?

Gio:

For Brazil too, it's pretty good.

Carlos:

Yeah. I'm definitely looking forward for that. It's going to be an epic time.

Written by Jeff Landi